What is a trade mark?
A trade mark is typically a word, symbol or logo used in trade in relation to that trade. Passing off protects unregistered trade marks but is difficult to enforce. A Community Trade Mark (CTM) is a trade mark that applies to the entirety of the European Union (EU) as opposed to being applied for and registered at the national level.
A registered trade mark:
Trade marks can be registered in one of 50 classes of goods or services and prevent others using the same or similar mark in relation to the same or similar goods or services, where there is a likelihood of confusion. Unlike registered designs and patents, trade mark protection lasts indefinitely and can be applied for even after publication or appearing on the market.
Why register a trade mark?
The potential of trade marking a logo or name is often overlooked and should definitely be considered when developing a new product.
Trade marks can be really important when creating branding for your product – this is particularly the case if you are looking to manufacture the product yourself.
Trade marks can be licensed just like patent and registered designs, so may add additional profit to your product.
For some, where patents and registered designs are unobtainable, a trade mark can help identify your product as an original and therefore help to gain monopoly.
Important UK trade mark application information
Trade mark applications can be rejected for various reasons so you need to make sure in particular that your trade mark is distinctive and not descriptive of what you plan to use it for.
Some companies will protect all letters and numbers in a certain font so that no one else can imitate their logo ie. Mars
You cannot often protect a descriptive logo or slogan.
Companies may be notified if your application is similar to their own. Your application will also be published in the Trade Marks Journal. Anyone can oppose a trade mark application but if no one does it will be registered in about 3 months form filing.
How much will a trademark cost?
The UK application fee for trade mark registrations is approximately £200
The CTM application fee is approximately €900
If you need to to conduct a CTM or a UK trademark search, or if you would like assistance with the application, these services and be provided at an additional cost.
How do I apply for a trade mark or community trade mark (CTM)?
You can apply for a UK trade mark at the UK Intellectual Property Office
You can also now apply online to the UK IPO
To apply for a CTM you must complete and send the relevant forms to the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) in Alicante, Spain. You must also pay the application fee NB. OHIM do not accept cheques.
You can also now apply online for a Community Registered Design through the OHIM website.
How to register a trade mark, with help from Innovate Design
Innovate can help design your logo in order to trade mark your company or product name and establish branding.
Innovate also provide a trade mark searching service, where needed, to help identify and create a unique logo.